At age 75, Sergio Beutelspacher Sandoval continues to be one of the Mexican plastics industry's most prodigious inventors.
``We sell technology,'' he said during a tour of his dusty office annex, which is lined with pigeon holes stuffed with many of his designs, from PET bottles to furnishings.
He has created thousands of innovations, both material and mechanical.
Those inventions include 1,000 individually designed plastic extrusion and blow molding machines, 31 percent going to the Americas and China. The others have been sold in Mexico.
His latest passion is material advancement, specifically reinforced plastic, which he claims is a tougher and more durable option for the construction industry than reinforced concrete.
He's promoting the material, made of PET and polyethylene and called plastico armado armored plastic for making posts for telephone and electricity cables. Underground cables for such services are rare in Mexico.
Another material he's developed is a substitute for the wood used in wall panels, floors, and tables and chairs. His alternative is made from natural fibers taken from coconut and palm trees and is combined with PVC or polypropylene.
He launched his company, Beutelspacher SA de CV, 30 years ago. Today the operation occupies a 2½-acre site in southern Mexico City, where 100 work. Originally from Germany, he runs the business with his four children.
Beutelspacher is emphatic when he talks about the exclusivity of his company's designs. ``We almost never copy anything,'' he said.
References from customers drive his business.
``I don't have a sales force. Everyone who comes to see me comes because of a recommendation they've received,'' he said.
Clients arrive with ideas, and the company works with them using a second Beutelspacher operation, Plasticos B.S. SA de CV, to test the technology and manufacture the products.
Beutelspacher SA de CV has annual sales of $2 million.
Asked how the company has survived while every one of its 25 competitors has gone out of business in the past two decades, Beutelspacher replied: ``We have total flexibility in the operations with our clients. We sell technology and the money is secondary. This has helped us to be in the position we're in today.''
He has many friends in the industry, he said, and only two enemies: taxes and his age. He's considering retirement in another five years.